The Olympic Club Facts

The Olympic Club Information

The Olympic Club Press Fact Sheet

Unique History

Established on May 6, 1860, The Olympic Club enjoys the distinction of being one of America’s oldest athletic clubs. Long a west coast powerhouse in amateur sports, the Club is the home of many local, regional, national and international champions.

Membership & Facilities

Since 1860, our membership has grown from the original 23 charter members to over 5,000 men and women, as well as 800 junior members. Olympians compete in over 19 sports and enjoy two historic clubhouses in San Francisco: the City Clubhouse, near Union Square, and Lakeside, at the Pacific Ocean.

Our members also support the Olympic Club Foundation that grants funds and supports programs that share the belief that participation in organized athletics enriches young lives and develops future community leaders.  For more information, please visit the Foundation website, http://www.olympicclubfoundation.org.

City Clubhouse

The Club built the City Clubhouse in 1912, after the 1906 earthquake and fire destroyed the original building, and it was restored in 2006 to its original glory. The clubhouse features a fitness center, cardio solarium, hotel facilities, handball and squash courts, circuit training facilities, two basketball courts and two swimming pools.

Lakeside Clubhouse

In 1918, the Club assumed operations of the Lakeside Golf Club, including an 18-hole golf course. Famed architect Arthur Brown, Jr., designer of the San Francisco City Hall, designed the Lakeside clubhouse, which officially opened in 1925. The clubhouse features spectacular dining and banquet facilities, meeting rooms, locker rooms, an exercise center, massage services and a swimming pool. The Golf Shop was completely renovated in spring 2011.

golf at The Olympic Club

Golf at The Olympic Club

By 1922, the Club had acquired enough acreage to replace the original golf course with two 18-hole golf courses. Willie Watson and course superintendent Sam Whiting designed the first Lake and Ocean courses in 1924. Unfortunately, storm damage led Sam Whiting to redesign both courses again in 1927.

The Lake Course remains true to the 1927 design with minimal renovations in the intervening years. Prior to the 1955 U.S. Open, the Club brought the USGA’s official course architect, Robert Trent Jones, Sr., to toughen the Lake Course for competition. Most recently, the Club completed the Lake Course Greens Replacement project. Conversion from poa annua to bent-grass greens was the primary objective of the project, but the crew also rebuilt and renovated greens. The new 8th hole, the first routing change to the course since 1927, was sculpted into the surrounding hillside with views of the clubhouse. It will play as a 200-yard par 3. Additional alterations are still under construction for the 2012 U.S. Open Championship.

 The U.S. Open at Lakeside

The Club began hosting tournaments in the 1930s, including the San Francisco National Match Play Open in 1930, 1932 and 1939. We went on to host the 1946 San Francisco Open (won by Byron Nelson), the 1948 Women’s Western Amateur Championship, the 1958 America’s Cup, the 1971, 1975, 1980, 1984, 1989, 2000 & 2006 Pacific Coast Amateur Championships, as well as the PGA Tour Championships in 1993 and 1994.

The Club has also hosted more USGA events than just the U.S. Open Championship, including the 1958, 1981 and 2007 U.S. Amateur Championships and the 2004 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship.

The Lake Course challenges professionals and amateurs alike with its narrow, tree-lined fairways and small, well-bunkered greens.

  • The Club hosted its first U.S. Open Championship in 1955, when Jack Fleck, a relative unknown from Iowa, defeated the favorite, Ben Hogan, in a playoff. Of the seven rounds under par for the tournament, Fleck put up three.
  • During the next U.S. Open Championship in 1966, Arnold Palmer dominated, leading by seven strokes with only nine holes left to play. Billy Casper tied him and then won the playoff.
  • In 1987, nine players went into Sunday within three strokes of the lead. The favorite, Tom Watson, was defeated, as Scott Simpson took the day, without the need for a play-off.
  • In 1998, Payne Stewart went into Sunday with a four stroke lead but the legacy of Hogan, Palmer and Watson loomed before him. He too would falter, allowing Lee Janzen to make his way to the top. No player broke par for the tournament and only Janzen equaled it.
  • In 2012, after starting Sunday four shots back from the leaders, Webb Simpson went two-over for the first five holes before putting together a string of birdies on 6, 7, 8, and 10. Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk both needed birdies on 18 to force a playoff — neither sank their shots and Simpson won his first major with a 1-over-par 281.